Is Domestic Travel About To Become More Complicated?

Domestic travel is about to get trickier for residents of Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York. Starting next year, residents from these states will be required to show a second form of ID apart from their state driver’s license to board a domestic plane. In December of 2013, the Department of Homeland Security passed the Real ID Act, which set federal standards for government issued IDs. The states listed above do not require residents to show proof of citizenship or residency in order to obtain their license and, therefore, do not pass the new security standards.

So, what counts as a second form of ID?

  • Passports
  • Passport Cards
  • Military or Government IDs
  • Enhanced Driver’s License or EDL (only available to New York and Minnesota residents)
  • NEXUS Card
  • Global Entry Card

At this time, the exact date that these changes will be implemented is unclear but the Department of Homeland Security has stated that it will be “no sooner than in 2016”.

By JNR Incorporated

 

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Image “Passport” by Tony Webster is licensed by CC by 2.0

 

The Realities of Travel Operations

After two prep days (and two nights of disjointed sleep due to jet lag) arrival day is finally here. Welcome packets are stuffed, room gifts wrapped and we are ready to rock and roll! As a meeting planner we spend months meticulously planning every last detail down to the pattern of china for the gala event or how to word an amenity card. On a larger scale, we have to painstakingly plan how to move 90 people (and their luggage!) from three nights in Prague to two nights in Vienna, which is not an easy feat. But with the right partnership of hotels and suppliers it can go off without a hitch and be a huge success.

Yet there are always elements out of our control such as weather or a migration of refugees through Europe. Currently I am dealing with the latter. While my heart goes out to the refugees, my ultimate concern at the moment has to be for the care and safety of my attendees. Fortunately our program moves south from Prague to Vienna, against the flow of the migration.  We are on a privately chartered train that ends at a local train station just outside Vienna and will not be arriving in a large international station flooded with refugees and heightened emotions.

My local partners have assured me that all is calm in the Vienna city center and from what I see on the news; there is nothing to contradict those statements. But I have to be proactive and plan for contingencies, first of which is concerning myself with attendees post-extending in Germany. At this moment the German borders are closed preventing train travel between Austria and Germany.  Therefore we have had to assist a few attendees in booking flights to their next destination. I am also prepared to add security in Vienna should the situation change for the worse.

While many of you only see the glamorous side of this business, there are very real realities we have to deal with that we could have never anticipated months ago. Instead, we have to be a buttoned up with the details we can control so if a situation does arise, we are ready to jump into action.

We have three more days until we travel to Vienna and are moving forward as planned. But as I sit here at 1:45 AM (thank you jet lag) watching the BBC World News, I am monitoring and planning for the unexpected.

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Written by Laurel Axelrod

JNR Spotlight: Sleeping While Traveling

Whether you are traveling for business purposes or going on a lavishing vacation to another country, one thing we can all agree on is that sleeping in an economy seat on an airplane can be quite a mission. The small space and the upright seats can make it hard to get comfortable enough to take a relaxing nap. Here are a few tips to keep in mind through air travel that will help you doze off peacefully.

Expectations

Do not board a plane with the expectation that you will easily fall asleep. This is often unrealistic, causing a traveller to get frustrated when they can not slip quickly into slumber. Putting too much pressure on yourself will almost always ensure you get no sleep. Keep in mind that for the most part, people are so excited to get to their destination.  The anticipation does not always make it easy to relax and sleep.

Seat Selection

With airline seat availability becoming more and more limited for economy travellers, flyers do not always get the seat they want- “the window seat!” This spot is the easiest seat to fall asleep in as you have something to lean on. If the window indent is an inch or two in front of the seat you have the perfect place for your head to lie against. That however cuts out two thirds of the rest of the plane leaving travellers in the center or aisle with less than optimal sleeping arrangements.

Travel Gear

When traveling by air it is important to wear comfortable clothing and loose-fitting shoes. Think about it; are you able to fall asleep in your bed while wearing jeans? If you can’t fall asleep in your own bed then how will you fall asleep in a small upright chair? In addition, due to pressurization our bodies swell so you want to ensure that your clothing doesn’t fit too tight leaving you uncomfortable.

Now that you are wearing the right gear you want to be sure to bring the correct sleep goods to help you achieve your ultimate goal. Three important must have products are a travel pillow, an eye mask and earplugs/headphones. A neck pillow will help your head from falling side to side while the eye mask is a gateway way to escape from your surroundings. The earplugs/headphones are the icing on the cake zoning out any unwanted noises or allowing you to listen to soothing music, calming and relaxing your body.

Eating and Drinking

People don’t usually think about how eating can affect their sleep, but this is an important component that should not be overlooked. Before and during your flight you want to avoid eating anything salty.  Salty foods paired with cabin pressure can lead to uncomfortable bloating. Stash chamomile tea bags and ask the attendant for hot water as the drink cart makes the rounds.  A nice cup of tea can help you reach dreamland mid-flight.

Some flyers order a nice cocktail to help them nod off quicker, but don’t be fooled into thinking you will get a better rest. Studies have confirmed that falling asleep after consuming alcohol will leave you dehydrated, making you groggy when you awake. In addition, it can amplify jetlag and disrupt your sleeping pattern all together.

Add these few tips to your routine when traveling by air next time and arrive at your destination rested and refreshed.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Tatum Dumont

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

 

 

JNR Spotlight: How to Eat at the Best Restaurants When Traveling

A good meal is always desired but often hard to find when traveling to a new city or destination. Tourist traps can lure you in with the promise of a 5-star meal and leave you only with the corresponding bill. Thanks to a host of new apps, it is now possible to find great restaurants even when you are not familiar with the area.

Here are three of our favorite travel food apps:

 

This app and website has just been redesigned to make it even more user friendly from its initial release. The premise is a review site similar to Yelp but with a twist… only local chefs who rank highly in their area can add content to the site. You can even find out which dishes are trending locally without having to follow food bloggers and you can find restaurants within walking distances of your location. While these expert reviews are currently limited to the USA, Canada and London there are plans to expand to many more cities and countries in the coming months.

 

Viator gives you food and drink itineraries from all over the world, many with special deals and promotions for the users of the app. The app allows you to book directly from your phone and can recommend restaurants based on hotel location with interactive maps.

 

This app is part of the popular restaurant payment platform, Dash, and allows you to explore the atmosphere of participating restaurants before committing to a meal there. Real time data tells you how crowded the venue is and its integration with Dash makes bill splitting easy.

 

A great dining experience in and exotic destination can make the difference between a good trip and an amazing trip.  Unfortunately, planning your meals can often be left to the last minute with little research going into the decision. These three apps make it easy for you to make the most of your trip with ease.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Image: “Chef’s Market” by Yelp, Inc is licensed by CC by 2.0

JNR Spotlight: Fastest Growing Caribbean Destination

The Turks and Caicos Islands, located 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, are known for their year round warm temperatures and soft, white sandy beaches. Until recently these islands were not well known but in the past year the number of visitors traveling to Turks and Caicos have grown by 50 percent. Most of these tourists arrive by cruise ship while some came in by air accounting for a record high of 1,407,313 total travelers in 2014. Most of these visitors are U.S. citizens rounding up to about 80 percent of all total guests to the islands. So why is this destination suddenly in high demand?

Director of the Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, Ralph L. Higgs believes that accessibility to the islands is a huge contributing factor to the rapid growth in 2014. These islands located just beyond the Bahamas are an easy two and a half hour flight from Miami and offer travelers a new tropical destination to consider.  Getting there has become extremely convenient with a direct flight from many major gateways in North America such as JFK in New York and Logan International Airport in Boston. Travelling by cruise ship to Turks and Caicos was ranked fourth out of 28 Caribbean destinations with an increase of 24.8 percent.

In addition, the unusually cold weather in much of the U.S. last year may have played an important role in the increase in visitors. In an average year these islands have 350 days of sunshine, perfect for lounging by the pool or taking a nice stroll along the beach.

Typically, Caribbean cuisine is not at the forefront of decision making when booking an island escape.  Turks and Caicos are changing this perception though now offering over 20 restaurants featuring world-renowned and award-winning chefs.  The islands have also become host to the Caribbean Food & Wine Festival, which offers epicurean delights and draws in visitors from around the world.  This festival is designed to host dinners and tasting events on a small scale allowing the guests a chance to interact directly with top chefs and winemakers.  Typical to the Turks and Caicos relaxed reputation, this boutique festival keeps the focus on culinary talent while keeping the scene at a manageable size.

Some say the 230 miles of ivory sand on the islands are home to the best beaches in the world.  This laid back destination offers crystal clear waters and colorful coral reefs for beachgoers to enjoy as well as spectacular limestone caves and diving and snorkeling opportunities.  The Turks and Caicos are not the place for a lively nightlife but if you are in the mood for evening bonfires and an overall relaxing atmosphere, these islands are a tropical paradise destination leaving visitors with lifelong memories and experiences.

Now midway into 2015, Higgs anticipates continued growth while incorporating stronger and better marketing strategies. He believes the destinations strong branding and location keep Turks and Caicos on track for another solid yearly performance.  We would love to bring your group to these lovely islands.  If you would like to learn more about Turks and Caicos please contact JNR. We are happy to set up a time to talk about your organization’s needs. Give us a call at 800.343.4546, or email us at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Tatum Dumont

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

 

Photo: “Regent Palms Turks and Caicos” by C.C. Chapman is licensed by CC by 2.0